3 May 2017

Rwanda Reintroduces Rhinos After Ten-Year Absence

Kayonza — Yesterday, Rwanda reintroduced Eastern black rhinos after the last individual was documented in the country 10 years ago. The endangered Eastern black rhino was translocated to Akagera National Park from South Africa to restore the species to the nation's largest national park.

Speaking at the historical moment, Belise Kariza, the Chief Tourism Officer at the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) hailed the country's latest efforts in safeguarding the endangered species and for being an environment-friendly country. She noted that the reintroduction of rhinos makes Akagera Park more competitive regionally.

"Reintroducing rhinos is another milestone after the lions' returns in 2015- whose number has now increased to 17. Rwanda is officially a Big Five nation once again. This is a fantastic day for all of us," said CTO Kariza.

African Parks, a conservation non-profit that manages national parks and protected areas on behalf of governments across the African continent, in collaboration with the Rwanda Development Board and with funding provided by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, is translocating a founder population of up to 20 Eastern black rhinos to Akagera National Park in Rwanda from South Africa.

The historic homecoming will take place over the first two weeks of May, with the first batch that arrived yesterday.

"The rhino's return to this country, however, is a testament to Rwanda's extraordinary commitment to conservation and is another milestone in the restoration of Akagera's natural diversity," remarked African Parks CEO Peter Fearnhead.

Back in the 1970s, more than 50 black rhinos thrived in Akagera National Park, but their numbers declined under the pressure of wide-scale poaching until the last confirmed sighting of the species in 2007.

The Park, which is a protected savannah habitat in Rwanda, has undergone a remarkable transformation since African Parks assumed management in 2010 in partnership with the Rwanda Development Board.

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